Two Days of the Omer 5778

Today is two days of the Omer, גבורה שבחסד, Gevurah ShebeChesed, Discipline / Discernment in Love.

When Chesed enters the world of human interaction, it can only be healthy after being refined by Gevurah. Pure love without boundaries is unhealthy in human relationships. We each must recognize that another soul exists and that our love cannot create or consume that soul’s journey.

Similarly, if we offer love without discernment, we are not truly supporting our beloved. A child needs to learn boundaries to thrive in the world. A beloved cannot be a partner if she does not understand what your needs are. Similarly, acquiescing to every expectation of your beloved is a sign of lower Chesed, Chesed that has been tainted and twisted. Human love must make space for your own needs and desires. You must have a vision of where you want to go in order to support any one else’s journey.

People often remark how stressful it must be that I’m in rabbinical school with two toddlers. As if the love and responsibility of parenthood somehow makes it particularly difficult to study ancient wisdom. While sleep deprivation can be problematic, I find my life easier than when I was working full time. Because now I am able to do things that fully support my soul’s journey toward actualization; whereas when I was using my secular skills, it was easier for me to get caught up in my ego’s pain. Perhaps from the outside it looks like I am not as focused on my children as other people are — my fervent hope is that I am modeling boundaries, allowing them space to explore life without me. And sometimes, my desire for discipline overwhelms my capacity to express love. Toddlers are uniquely gifted at ignoring instructions and the patience it takes to always speak from love is a key thing I am working on today and every day.

Some information on why I am writing these meditations….Jews are commanded to count seven weeks of Omer, beginning on the second night of Passover. Originally, omer was a measurement of barley. Passover was the spring harvest festival when ancient Israelites would begin the barley harvest. By counting seven weeks, they knew when to harvest their wheat, which is the original purpose of the Shavuot (“weeks”) festival.

Kabbalists, Jewish mystics, mapped the lower seven emanations of the Divine to this count. By studying different aspects of each emanations on each day, you participate in a process of purification, making yourself a vessel capable of receiving Divine truth on Shavuot.

The Sephirot can be used as a psycho-spiritual system, helping to define the values one holds most dear and how those values should help you interact with other people. I believe this information can be useful to anyone, regardless of their beliefs. I don’t think you need to “believe” in the Sephirot to access this wisdom, nor do I think you need to believe in God or be a Jew to meditate on these values. My meditations are enhanced by the Chabad Omer counting app and my years learning from Rabbi Finley at Ohr HaTorah Synagogue (Los Angeles). I write these daily thoughts after counting the Omer, so they are posted at night since Jewish day’s start after sundown. And in case you don’t know me, I’m a second year rabbinical student at AJRCA.

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